I told you a lot about Ubuntu and its derivatives lately, but obviously it is not the only Linux-based OS out there. While Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distributions are still preferred by most users, there are many others, especially designed to cover a wide variety of needs.

1. Fedora

The default Fedora distribution is not a colorful, impressive one, like Kubuntu, aiming to be a stronger, more stable and secure OS instead.

 

  Its latest release is Fedora 20, which comes with a full suite of applications and tools to get us started, like Mozilla, LibreOffice, Rhythmbox for music and Shotwell for screen captures and photo editing. The dock on the left side looks quite familiar, being similar to Ubuntu’s 3D Unity applications launcher. The search box offers a quick access to your programs.

Requirements: minimum 400 MHz processor, at least 512 MB of RAM (1GB recommended) and a 3D acceleration capable video card.

2. Debian

 Debian 7.4 is the latest release of this operating system. With over 37500 packages nicely arranged to fit your computer, Debian is the main competitor for Fedora regarding the stability and security.

It’s not much to say about Gnome-based user interface. It’s simple and functional, without effects and “sparkles”.

 Of course, you can customize it, like any Linux distribution, but don’t expect the eye-candy colors of KDE environments (see Kubuntu).

 Requirements: a 1 GHz processor is recommended, with 512 MB of RAM

 3. Slax

Slax is a “pocket operating system”. I personally tried it and I still have it on a bootable USB thumb drive. I just love this minimal OS, which takes only 220 MB to download. You may use it wherever you want, just plug in the memory stick, set the computer to boot from it and there you are! A fast, pretty operating system at a glance.

 

The desktop environment is KDE, very user-friendly and colorful. Every setting you do, every document you save will be preserved on your memory stick and you can take it with you. The distribution brings with it Mozilla, Internet Messenger, a file manager, games and applications for document reading/writing your documents.

Requirements: barely an i486 processor and 256 MB of RAM

In part 2 of this article I’ll look at more Linux-based systems, including the very popular Mint and a flavor that promises to run faster than Windows 7

~ Adrian